Mrs Hubbard

Sewn letter large text detail

Walking down Loveden Road at 4.30 am I can hear voices in the dark. It’s like, you know, Mrs Hubbard and her cupboard, a girl’s voice is saying. So no one’s there, replies another.

The birdsong before dawn is marvellous. Arriving at work at 5.30 am it fills the air. Layer upon layer of calling, chirruping, piping.

I wasn’t going to reply. It felt odd, more than a little creepy. On her card she wrote that she was a secretary in an engineering firm. She wanted us all to do a drawing and enclosed an S.A.E. I wasn’t going to reply but then thought about it. It was rather sweet really. I want to see what happens, she wrote. It was an act of immense optimism. I wonder how many artists responded. Yesterday I received another card from her. Thank you for your contribution, she wrote, and I’m enclosing a token of my gratitude. Inside the envelope was the remains of what was a Lindt chocolate rabbit wrapped in gold paper, now flattened.

He was so gauche. His nerves emanating as a smell. A smell of fear. Gosh, you’re early, I said, opening the studio door. Yes, he said, sorry. No, no, it’s fine, I’d said, suddenly cottoning-on to the reason why. He had to wait half-an-hour then, sweating with anxiety in that little cupboard of a room. They pitted him against a feminist. She was good, well-informed and sharp. You did fine, I said, as he took off the headphones, forcing a smile, he grabbed his bag and scarpered.

I am overly watchful of him. I can’t help it.

The companion of the sky, wrote Charlotte Bronte in her grief, the solace of the solitary.

I glance at the article before secreting it away in a drawer to read later. She championed those who live alone, it said. The solitary. The unmarried. The childless. Rest in peace A.B. Anon. I will return to you anon.

The sun shines.

What a joy.